Monday, December 14, 2009

This Is My Music: Vol 5, Part 2 (Tanz Der Lemmings)

The Akron Family
Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free (Dead Oceans) CD - Here we have it, yet another master stroke of roots psych progressive rock from Akron's by-way-of-Brooklyn The Akron/Family. Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free covers almost all the bases from the most sun-burnt farm jugband boogie to harmonies up-front roots-folk psych revelries and raging post George Harrison guitar eruptions that should probably sound out of place on a modern arty punk jam-band recording circa 2009 but come off as natural as the dawn here. Be not afraid to celebrate the this kinetic beauty, Womblifers. Sure, some of the songs may be a bit too sing-songy, but they ain't exactly Phish. This rocks!

Monochord (Important) LP - Here is you another fantastic ethno-folk psych transfusion from the awesome Alumbrados, one of many side projects to the perennial third eye dilating Bardo Pond, and I must say that Monochord has lept out as some of the most finely honed, carefully sculpted sonic psych folk meditations I've heard in '09. This is an absolute must in terms of conjuring the old gods and mystical rites through a carefully crafted prism of modern blues, psych and folk as if we've found the missing link between Sandy Bull and Manuel Göttsching. It burns with the incense of the ancients.

Circle Hollywood (Ekto) CD - I can't escape these Finnish lords' of psych/prog repetition. They're still knee deep in their vintage early thrash revisionist phase, which Katapult (No Quarter) basically marked the beginning of with English vokills, shred guitars and uptempo beats all backed by their trademark metronomic pulse. It's pretty silly on paper, but somehow Circle made it work then, and they make it burn brightly here too. With the help of American vocalist Bruce Duff -- channeling Rob Halford and Lemmy equally -- Hollywood is arguably the definitive Circle acid-thrash statement so far with nods to King Crimson, Judas Priest, Loop, the hell of the road and the Pori bad boys' own glorious past all rolled up into one mythical ball of righteous boo that you can pump your fist too while you get all physical and destructive in the listening space. There's more Circle stuff I'd like to cover here, such as their brand new live album Triumph (Fourth Dimension), but I'll have to save that for later. Amazing band.

Ducktails II / Ducktails (Future Sound Recordings) CD-R / (Not Not Fun) LP - Ducktails combines lazy minimal guitar textures like an echo-drenched Durutti Column with infectious/cracked melodies and a stumbling, playful delivery I've come to expect from the ever-dependable Not Not Fun record fortress. Some fantastical little space pop worlds are explored across the minimal pocket symphonies that comprise II (which I think actually predates the self-titled LP on NNF). Case in point: closer "Neptune City, NJ," which sounds sort of like a home-recorded homage to Kraftwerk's The Man Machine and totally fresh and spontaneous at the same time. The longer and, at times, heavier self titled platter offers more of the same with laid back strumming strings doused in reverb, backed by shuffling bedroom percussion and shakers. Absolute bliss drift for the troubled mind after a long day in the coalmines. Ducktails proves that keepin' it fresh really does matter more than keepin' it real, ya'll, though i think this shit is about as real as it gets too with a magical mix that sounds like what if the Velvet Underground was actually Syd Barrett fronting The Silver apples. Come git sum, chilruns. Your solace stew is served.

Endless Boogie Focus Level (No Quarter) 2LP - The third official long-player from these Brooklyn mantra lords comes in a lavish 2Lp package, if you indeed still have the means of listening to such morsels. It's got all the goody good from wound-tight mid-tempo John Lee Hooker trance outs to epic Velvets infused boogie blastoffs that merge the primitive and ecstatic into wailing psychedelic blues jams that touch on everything from the aforementioned Hooker and other blues greats of yore to Hawkwind and Captain Beefheart, in the process mapping the coordinates to the minimal blues Promise Land. Love the wild-ass "spoken in tongues" vocals, and these guys are DAMN FINE live, boys 'n' girls. Should've been from Texas.

Fell Incoherent Lullabies (Camera Obscura) CD - Phineas Gauge is a Denver duo that first came to my attention via Camera Obscura some years ago, and Fell is Josh Wambeke of said duo carrying on the reverb drenched shoegaze flame into a more accomplished and user friendly melodic sound that manages to captivate with only the most minimal means, key to any good dreampop bliss out. The results fall somewhere between Galaxie 500 to prime Chapterhouse or even Bedhead, all blasts from the past I know and you're sitting their scratching your head like WTF? Think of a kinder, gentler, less steroidal Mogwai, then sprinkle with equal doses of heartache and an endless morphine drip.

Jesu Opiate Sun (Caldo Verde Records) CD EP - What the hell is left to say about Justin Broadrick and his transformation from angst drone metal avalanche master to pristine noise pop song bird? Opiate Sun offers four more epic slabs of monumental harmonies and tuneful fuzz guitars that come off sort of like Big Star playing at the bottom of the world or Codeine reborn from the slow-core ashes like a magnificent fiery phoenix, course set directly for the heart of the opiate sun. Glorious.

Lightning Bolt Earthy Delights (Load) CD - It's been a while since the mighty Providence, RI duo unleashed its flailing limbs spastic cyclops attack on an unassuming public, and if it's only gotten tighter, more dynamic, splattered and calibrated at the same time with a furious precision that feels telekinetic at this point and is as fiercely uncompromising as it is listenable and fist-pumping to the heavens. Easily some of the most down and dirty, grooved out cosmik splooge that's as intelligently designed as it is spontaneously created. Hammer of the Gods.

Moon Duo Killing Time (Sacred Bones) - 12" EP - Four more groovy drone psych concoctions from this righteous Wooden Shjips off-shoot that draw from Suicide, Loop, Krautrock and the aforementioned 'Shjips themselves with epic trance raves that conjure images of alien spacecrafts landing on enormous strobe lite dance-floors overrun with indigenous creatures doused in day-glow and zonked in ecstatic revelry.

Oneida Rated O (Jagjaguwar) 3CD - Oneida recently dropped one smokin' 3CD platter that just may be their ultimate psych punk transcendence opus to date, and the price is definitely right. We're talkin' 3 CDs for the price of one -- Rated O for orgasm. These three discs represent a big part of the story of Oneida, though they comprise the second release in the so called "Thank Your Parents" trilogy. If last year's Preteen Weaponry was a roaring blast out of the cosmic gate, then Rated O is a work of greater diversity and further-along probing depth, encompassing aspects of new wave, no wave, Krautrock, 70s proto punk and art punk, dub, psych rawk, sitar laced trance minimalism and good old fashioned caveman stomp. It's a beast to sit through in one sitting, but no one ever said you had to do that. Throw in disc 1 at your next Saturday night disco house party. Pop in CD 2 for the garage punk freakbeat shuffle that following Tuesday, and just think of CD 3 as the perfect go-to spin for straight up third eye astral projecting. Highly recommended for hardcore acid punks, Circle fans and those who enjoy headbanging in the lotus position.

Quo (Soft Abuse) CD - Stefan Neville, recently heard hitting drums at Renderers gigs down south, released one of my favorite solo weird noise pop sorts of albums of recent times in Pebbles (also Soft Abuse). Seek it out if looking for the missing link between Alastair Galbraith and early John Cale/Tony Conrad styled minimalism. Quo sort of picks up where Pebbles leaves off, offering up an all encompassing commentary on all that is and ever will be Pumice. That means fractured, skeletal folk pop, angular art punk, no wave, minimal drone, tape hiss and manipulations are all accented by Neville's peculiar/affecting croon singing songs of heartache, loss, need and confusion. It's the human condition all thrown into a very old, noisy blender and set to puree. Quo falls somewhere between the shambolic folk psych of Sky Green Leopards and the deconstructed art pop of Maher Shalal Hash Baz, while sounding like neither. Roundabout praise, but praise all the same. Highly recommended.

Peaking Lights - Imaginary Falcons (Night People) LP - While spacing out and drifting down stream this year, I don't think any soundtrack carried me further along than Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes' homemade shoegaze duo, Peaking Lights, via the brilliant kaleidoscopic tone patterns of their Imaginary Falcons, which also dropped in the cassette format from Not Not Fun. The mood is playful and dreamy across these seven sonic vessels touching upon early Eno, Velvets, Nico, Xpressway, Krautglam and Young Marble Giants. I'm also reminded of the lovely Grouper in spots, only the moods of Imaginary Falcons reveal their own brand of hand-traded cassette tape drift and drone that's perfect head fodder for a lazy day shimmer or a rainy day trickle, and all points in between. Great stuff to fall asleep to.

Rahdunes Untitled (Qbico) LP picture-disc - When Mr. Coyes above told me about this here mind-melting sonic artifact and that it was an actual rock record to boot, I had a sneaking suspicion that I'd never actually get to hear the sucker. Wrong again! Found it in the racks at End of An Ear on one of my recent Austin trips, last copy of course. I'm not a big fan of reviewing things that are next to impossible to find, but I'm making an exception in this case and and just gonna say this is a true outer free psychedelic third eye melter that is as fun to look at is it is to smoke pot and badly dance to. Psychedelic freedom splendor unleashed and completely obliterated.

Wet Hair Dream / Glass Fountain (Not Not Fun) both LP - More righteous tones here from Shawn Reed, recently heard to make asses shake and minds convulse as a key member of Racoo-oo-oon -- now sadly defunct -- but that's okay as long as cool shit like Wet Hair continues to roll out of the green fog. Dream is rife with organ drones, minimal rhythmic backing with live and programmed drums beneath echo drenched vocal howls merging into some of the most chilled out handmade sci-fi bedroom psych I've bedazzled my mind with lately. Released soon after is the equally levitated Glass Fountain, a companion piece of sorts to Dream which could have quite easily joined with its sister recording into a 2LP platter of mythical proportions. Hard to say why the split, although like many of the freer improvised groove merchants out there today, Wet Hair is less about songs than psychedelic moods -- ecstatic revelries, primal dub-inflected dirges, floating electronic clouds of sound -- it's all here in an abundance just waiting for your lung-burnt, bleary-eyed perusal.

Zelienople Hollywood (Under the Spire) 2x3" CD-R - This Chicago trio continues to weave its levitated spell with a minimal/drone/improv wash that spreads out and fills every corner of the room with a glowing luminescence. This 2x3" CD-R is probably long gone, but can be downloaded, what you wanna bet? Seems just about anything can be downloaded today. The masterstroke is beneath all the shimmering feedback layers is an almost slow-motion alien swing jazz buried beneath all the phosphorous hum to help to help dazzle the subconscious while the ego zones out in tonal submission. Worth your time if you have a remote interest in minimal drone composition, the Kranky label and aural meditation of any kind.

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